Home Health How Can You Tell If Your Erectile Dysfunction Is Psychological?

How Can You Tell If Your Erectile Dysfunction Is Psychological?

How Can You Tell If Your Erectile Dysfunction Is Psychological?
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Erectile dysfunction, known in short as ED, is the inability to get or maintain a firm enough erection for sexual function. It is a common sexual disorder affecting around 18 million men in the United States and more than twice the number globally. There are two types of ED: physical ED and psychological ED.

Physical ED

Most of the time, ED is caused by physical causes. For instance, ED can affect men who are suffering from heart disease, diabetes, or obesity. Physical ED can also be caused by lifestyle choices like smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. The use of drugs like khat can also trigger this sexual disfunction. It is also worth mentioning that certain medicines like prescription drugs for depression can cause ED. 

Psychological ED

This is a type of erectile dysfunction that is caused by psychological conditions. Common causes of psychological ED are:

Anxiety – anxiety can cause many medical and health conditions like increased heart rate, blood pressure, and fatigue. These issues often affect sexual performance, and they can trigger sexual disorders like ED. 

Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

Stress – this psychological condition can affect your ability to achieve and maintain sexual performance because of the mental load.

Depression – depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can affect sexual desires and functions. Men with depression can often suffer from erectile dysfunction. 

Relationship of marital problems – relationship problems can cause stress, anxiety, and depression, resulting in erectile dysfunction. Arguments and poor communication can also affect your sexual desire and function. 

Both the types of ED mentioned above are possible. But, for a long time, people had a hard time believing that erectile dysfunction can be psychological. However, according to scientists, around 10-15 percent of all cases of ED are psychological.

Below are the two ways through which you can tell if your erectile dysfunction is psychological:

Can you get aroused when you are alone?

Some people who suffer from ED state that they can achieve an erection when they are alone. This means that they only struggle to achieve and maintain arousal with a partner. This suggests that the sexual dysfunction is psychological. 

Additionally, if you can maintain an erection and successfully masturbate when you are alone, then it means you’re your condition is psychological. Most of the time, the causes of this disorder, in this case, are stress, anxiety, depression, or relationship challenges. These psychological causes can cause one to have a hard time achieving and maintaining arousal. In this case, the solution is to get counseling or have a conversation with your partner. 

Do you have morning erections, or do you get erections when you are asleep?

Morning erection, also known as morning wood, is a common thing among men. The best and easiest way to test if your ED is psychological is to check if you still get morning wood. If you do, then it is a clear indication that your condition is psychological. Naturally, if the condition results from physical causes like heart disease, you shouldn’t be able to achieve morning erection. 

Additionally, during sleep, men usually become erect at least once. This is scientifically known as nocturnal penile tumescence. Most of the time, you cannot tell if you are erect while sleeping. Therefore, a few tests are designed to help you find out if you achieve erections while sleeping. The first test is known as the ring test. Here, you fix a ring of stamps around the base of your penis. Ensure the ring is not broken before you sleep. If you manage to get an erection while sleeping, you will wake up to a broken ring. You can also use a narrow piece of tissue or paper with scotch tape. If you still get nocturnal penile tumescence, then your erectile dysfunction is psychological. 


Psychological ED can be the most straightforward form of erectile dysfunction to treat. Usually, it is not permanent and can be treated without medication if the psychological causes are managed. For instance, having a conversation and working through issues with your partner can help solve the issue. 

Featured Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay